Sodium is….SALT! and sadly most of the salt found in our diet is added in during processing. Adding salt as a preservative was a brilliant idea back in the 18-19th centuries when people were transporting food by ship but now I think it is totally unnecessary. But that is not to say our body can go without salt, just like many other nutrients, we need them but not in very large amounts. Too much sodium may lead to high blood pressure, which can turn into: Stroke, Heart Disease & Kidney Disease and it has also been linked to stomach cancer!
Our intake of salt is sky high and people don’t even realize that they are putting all this sodium into our bodies. You really have to be careful with reading the labels. Sodium is definitely the ingredient you want 5% or less in. Anything over 5% and its crazy! Some foods have sodium contents of 40 & 50%. This means you are getting almost half if not more of your DAILY intake from one meal! This is ridiculous! The Canadian adult needs 1500 mg of sodium a day and shouldn’t have more than 2300 mg but some people have an intake of 3400 mg and don’t even realize it! The Daily Value % is based on a 2400 mg intake of sodium a day.
The reason sodium is added is because it preserves food like I said and can add flavour in baked goods or canned goods, its in cereals, condiments, processed meats, and a whole whack of other things, I’d dare to say almost everything we eat.
I read recently that its estimated 77% of the sodium eaten in the typical North American diet comes from processed foods, and only 5% comes from us actually adding salt to our food at the dinner table. If you want to add some flavour to your meal you can always used herbs, spices or even lemon juice instead of salt. It’s definitely something to experiment with.
We really need, as a community, to cut down on the processed foods that we are consuming. We need to watch not only what we are eating but if you have a family watch what you are feeding them. I see so many young kids who are over weight and sodium and processed food makes such a difference for them. If you have the opportunity to step away from some processed foods (if not all) then I highly recommend doing it.
So point is buy more fresh fruit, veggies, meat, milk and whole grains.